Recently I received something which was simultaneously both a compliment and an insult, and which was a source of both pleasant surprise and bitter disappointment.

A certain record label (which, for the purposes of this post, will remain nameless) decided that, as a marketing experiment, they would sent pre-release copies of one of their artists’ new albums (which, for the purposes of this post, will also remain nameless) to people who owned and maintained blogs. While there is, of course, no obligation for the blogger to publicise the album in question, either in a full review or simply recommendations to friends, that is clearly what the record label is hoping for. I have no problem with that whatsoever: if I think the album is worth buying, I will – in all likelihood – tell people about it.


When I got hold of my free bit of schwag, my first act was to rip it into iTunes: as I listen to the vast majority of my music in the office, and as I don’t really want to cart a load of CDs around with me, having a new album on my iPod as quickly as possible to give it a good few listens through is a Very Good Thing™.

Unless, of course, the record label has misaligned the tracks on the CD with the songs on the album, so that what iTunes thinks is a track comprises half of one song and half of the next. This is not simply a careless mistake: the record label has deliberately broken the pre-release copies of the album to discourage (so I have been told) recipients from sharing the tracks online.

The way I read this is as follows: “We value your opinion, we want you to check this out and tell your friends what you think. Oh, and by the way, we think you’re a criminal”. Not to mention a criminal who isn’t smart enough to get his copy of QuickTime and re-align the tracks to rip them properly.

This is all a terrible shame, as the album in question is really very good: so much so that, had it not come bundled with a free slap in the face, I would have made sure that anyone with a remotely compatible music taste to myself would have known how good I thought it was. Still, I truly hope that enough people take umbrage to provide a valuable lesson for record companies: if you want to market to bloggers, and if you want them to help you, don’t piss them off.

5 Responses to “Disappointment”

  1. Hi David.

    Sorry about the misaligned tracks – it really has nothing to with us, it’s all about the bands management/the band who are super-mega-ultra paranoid about things like leaking. As the album in question isn’t out for another month it’s the only version of it I can get my hands on – that’s why the other cd I sent you wasn’t crippled in the same way.

    I completly agree that it’s a bit shit, but I thought a promo cd with misaligned tracks was better then no promo cd :-) If you drop me a mail I can send you mp3s of it instead.

    I’ve blogged a bit about the reasons behind sending out cds to bloggers – hopefully it makes the reasoning behind doing it a little bit clearer. The reasons could probably be summed up as: I’m a blogger. I’d like to get free cds. I assume everyone else feels the same.

    Hope to see you a the gig in May…

  2. Ah, ok, I didn’t realise it was the decision of the band rather than the label: apologies for the mistake.

    And thanks for the offer of sending me fixed MP3 versions of the tracks, but I’ve already re-aligned and ripped the tracks. I have to laugh at the irony that the band’s decision to break the tracks to prevent file-sharing is actually causing people to send the fixed versions to their friends online.

    •  Gravatar for Katharos
    • From Katharos
    • Monday 7 May 2007 at 11:57

    I still find the fact that you use a Mac and an iPod now extremely disturbing considering all the stick I used to get at 6th form about being a mac user. I should feel all ‘I told you so’-y. But I don’t.

    Stop infringing on my individuality and go back to your PCs you scumbags!

  3. Well, what can I say? A pretty interface with a Unix box underneath can do that to a guy…

    •  Gravatar for Pam
    • From Pam
    • Wednesday 27 February 2008 at 14:28

    As someone who constantly works and gets fucked over for and by bands and labels. I understand your frustration but hope you can open up to the other side of the spectrum. Not everyone is honest especially in this business. So when they a month early send out their work, and some blogger takes it rips it and uploads it for his 678 subscribers in his RSS, well that is 678 people who don’t buy the album, then that is 678 counts off the hit chart, money out of their pocket and generally this business is killing music and bands. I was the absolute queen of illegal download until I realized with the help of a very well known Finnish band I work for how badly this is inhibiting their career. The last album they sent out like this flew like a fire threw the web and ruined their release because all of their fans already had the album. So there was no money for a tour and no money to record again.